Erlend's in town this week and I am beyond stoked. It's easy to stay in touch and feel connected through all our modern technologies, but really, at the end of the day, nothing beats IRL time. I feel like I've been especially bad about that this year too — because it's so easy to talk over Gchat, iMessage, Snapchat, or whatever, I'll sometimes find that a whole month has gone by without me actually hanging out with anybody. Is that sad to admit? Or is that just #bloggersinreallife?
But anyway, Erlend's been living with his parents for the last year and I like to joke that he's living the millennial's dream: rent-free in a big apartment in Manhattan, complete with healthful meals prepared by mom and dad. And if that sounds disdainful, it's mostly because I'm jealous (because seriously — if my parents lived anywhere cool like New York, I'd probably never move out. My mom's a great cook. Hi Mom!).
Erlend's only complaint about his living situation is that he doesn't have the access to the desserts he used to when we lived together. It's probably better for him in the long run, but after years of having a freshly baked good ready at your disposal every weekend, sometimes it's really hard to curb that craving. I speak from personal experience.
So in honor of his visit, I baked him this sweetened condensed milk bundt. This is actually a reprisal of an old recipe of mine (specifically, this sweetened condensed milk loaf cake). All that extra sugar from the condensed milk crisps up beautifully to create a hearty crust. I also added some egg yolks to make the crumb extra yellow and rich, as well toasted sesame oil for a little flavor. Erlend's always been fond of Asian dessert flavors like sweetened condensed milk, black sesame, red bean, and matcha, and I thought it would toasted sesame would be a great addition to that palette. The flavor is subtle, but definitely gives the cake a little something unique.
Some baker's notes:
- Before you guys ask, the bundt pan is a find from Ebay. It's one of those vintage bundt molds from when everybody was skinnier and ate less, so this recipe won't work in the modern, regular 10-cup bundt pan. Instead, use a pan that holds around 4 cups — in a pinch you can substitute a 8 x 4-inch loaf pan.
- Toasted sesame oil can be found in the Asian/International section of most major supermarkets and is used for its distinct, nutty flavor. However, a little bit goes a LONG way, which is why I've used such a small amount in the recipe. For a stronger flavor, use 2 teaspoons, but I wouldn't use more than that.
- 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- a pinch of kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks // 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (2.35 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) sweetened condensed milk
(enough for 1 cake)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 3.25 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 teaspoons water
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 (F). Prepare your cake pan by generously spraying with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together 3/4 cup unsalted butter, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy.
- Once the butter and sugar is light and fluffy, turn the mixer to its lowest speed and slowly add 5 large egg yolks, one at a time, only adding the next egg yolk when the previous one before it has fully incorporated into the batter.
- Once the egg yolks have been incorporated, turn off the mixer and whisk together 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk in a liquid measuring cup.
- Turn on the mixer to its slowest speed and add the dry ingredients (from the 2nd step) in 3 parts, alternating with the sweetened condensed milk mixture (from the 5th step) in two parts. DO NOT OVERBEAT — simply beat together until all the ingredients have just been incorporated.
- Transfer to your prepared cake pan, using a rubber spatula to spread the batter evenly across the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, or until the top is a dark, golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before unmolding.
- Toast 1 tablespoon sesame seeds in a medium pan over medium-low heat until the sesame seeds start to brown and emit a nutty aroma — keep your eye on them, because once they start to brown, they brown really easily and are quick to burn! Once the seeds are toasted, immediately transfer to a plate on a wire rack to prevent further toasting.
- In a medium, heat-proof glass bowl, combine 3.25 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 4 teaspoons water, and 2 teaspoons light corn syrup. Create a double boiler by setting the bowl of ingredients over a saucepan containing an inch of water, ensuring that the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Cook the ingredients over medium heat, stirring together with a rubber spatula until melted and combined. If the mixture looks like it will seize, use a whisk. Once the ingredients have combined, transfer to a liquid measuring cup and use immediately — if you wait too long, the glaze will set and be difficult to work with!